In the world of professional combat, fighters are held to various levels of expectations whenever they step into the cage or ring. Often times the media and fans will pigeon hole an athlete into a position that isn't a correct definition of who they are. Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres is a prime example of someone who was slotted with expectations that he has slowly pushed out of his way.
At UFC on Fox 10 Caceres earned what may be the most important win of his nearly six year career. He faced off against Sergio Pettis and the surprise “Fight of the Night” winner stole the show. The action was great but the way that Alex did what was needed to secure a win was even more impressive. With 21 seconds left in the fight he was able to wrap up Pettis with a rear naked choke to finish the bout. Many had Caceres losing on the score cards in the waning moments, so to watch him do what was needed to get his hand raised was eye opening for multiple reasons.
Coming off of the Ultimate Fighter the expectations for Caceres's UFC run were not very high Many believed he was brought into the company just because of the “Bruce Leeroy” gimmick that he created while on the show. After his first two fights in the Octagon it seemed like Caceres would soon find himself in the sports unemployment time after being dominated by both Mackens Semerzier and Jimy Hettes who finished him with in “light” fashion.
The career turn around began with the move to drop down to bantamweight. Former WEC champion Cole Escovedo was the man to welcome him into the division and it was a fight that didn't support Caceres in the betting odds. Showing off a greatly improved game in multiple aspects of mixed martial arts, Alex earned an important unanimous decision victory that would kick start his flourishing fight career. Even though he would lose his next fight; he has essentially won five fights straight in the 135 pound division. His win against Kyung Ho Kang was overturned due to marijuana metabolites found in his drug testing results. This most recent victory caps off the streak and has pulled more eyes towards his performances in the cage.
Alex Caceres should now see an increased place of prominence within the UFC's roster. While it's too soon to call him a contender, he should begin to receive better placement on UFC cards. To this point he's never appeared on a main card for a pay per view. During his climb he's fought on the prelims for UFC 143 and UFC 165 but every other fight he's been on a free televised event. His win over Pettis is the closest that he's come to being featured on the main card.
In getting his hand raised, Caceres should see some main card action in his next outing. If the UFC heads back to Florida, Alex's home state, in 2014 that would be the best opportunity to have him featured as a main card opener. His fighting style tends to be the striking based combat that both the UFC and mainstream fans celebrate so a matchup against another bantamweight of similar mold would work. The division has a number of growing personalities in the group and Caceres should be consider among them.
Even though he's shed the yellow jumpsuit and huge smile – Alex Caceres is still a valuable bantamweight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. His win over Pettis has caught the attention of many within the MMA community and now it's time for both the fighters and match makers to capitalize on it.